Compare Sales In Public Record

Before you actually buy your dream house you need to figure out how much it is worth on the Real Estate market. This is called appraising a house value and the most essential things that determine the value of your house are most recent sales of properties that are similar to yours and that are located in your area. A house for sale may also have its market value recorded in the public office.

A market value of a house is determined by defining the most probably price that is expressed in terms of money that a house would bring if it were to go on sale. Additionally, Real Estate properties go through something called the assessment process, this is when the Assessor's Office appraises and compares all the Real Estate property in the City to determine their values for tax purposes. These assessments are effective at the beginning of the year. Changes of assessment are sent out around March. The appraisal staff inspects properties and gathers their value information. This information should be on a public record and should be available to be viewed at any time.

Checking Local Sales Figures

The Real Estate properties are appraised by the market approach. In such approach, the value of the Real Estate is obtained by comparing and contrasting properties that are in the same class; that have sold recently in the neighborhood. Recent sale prices in the neighborhood determine what the assessment on the Real Estate property should be. Each time a house is sold the Assessor's Office mails a questionnaire asking the buyer about the sale. Auctions, sales, bank foreclosures, sales between family members and tenant buying from owner may not be assessed.

Your Real Estate agent should have access to all the local sales figures and should be able to give you an estimate so that you can compare it to the house price you're looking at. Most Real Estate agents should offer this for free.

Another option - if your Real Estate agent does not have access to the local sales figures for some reason - is to hire a professional Real Estate appraiser and visit public record offices such as your county clerk or recorder's office. You should never be too cautious about the house price - an updated garden or kitchen or excellent house maintenance can make a huge difference to the price - you'll need to be knowledgeable about getting the most accurate information so use the help of professionals.

Call the county office and find out if they have the records on file . Some offices will have information available through Internet services; make sure you ask a professional, on the phone, to walk you through the research process if the information is available online.

Unfortunately some Real Estate information might not be really up-to-date. There are areas where taxes on properties are included only once a house is bought or once any home-improvement has been done. Do some historical research once you get an access to the public records listings  when you're collecting comparable data look at the record that go back less than a year time. Some Real Estate experts suggest looking back at more than just one-year time to see if there's a trend in sales and what changes indicate about how the neighborhood is doing, in general.

Public Record

Public record is the most accessible source of information on comparable sales of the property. Some home buyers do their research, even before comparing prices via Classifieds or Real Estate listing, by using the county public records. Comparing sales through the public record is very useful and not just because it gives you an idea about what the house you're after should cost. Prices reveal certain statistics and there's history hidden in their fluctuations. Think about it this way: Toronto, Canada has recently experienced power blackout, SARS epidemic and a West Nile virus. Then things went back to normal. Then Prince moved into one of the historical and snazzy neighborhoods, then Canada legalized gay marriage, marijuana. The public record of Real Estate sales, in Toronto, Canada indicates some really unusual jumps and dips in prices, in the last couple of years.

A knowledgeable buyer has a better chance at negotiating price in the feature. A friend was buying a house in a relatively new and trendy suburbian neighborhood. Most of the houses in the neighborhood were brand-new, most of the residents were new to the area as well. This neighborhood was attractive to mostly young families who were not property-owners prior to now. My friend, being a cautious person, thought she'd some research; she was a little suspicious of very low prices of three, sometimes four-bedroom houses. When she reached a public record official who showed her some sales records with comparable prices, from the same town but a different neighborhood, she was shocked to find out that houses outside of the new area were selling for twice as much as the property she was considering. As it turned out majority of the houses had guarantee not exceeding fifteen years because somebody, somewhere for some reason forgot to do a soil inspection before they were built. There was a rumor about people's basements sinking in already. The Real Estate market panicked and now these, sometimes very lovely, houses are cheaper than the dirt they're built on.

When a person buys a house, the property is deeded from the seller to the buyer; in other words there's a transaction and a record for it. In most cases, this record is stored at the local county recorder's office. The sales data as well as any other information about the property is combined and the property taxes can be figured out properly.

If there were no additions or major improvements to the house and the property, the information available from the public record should be a good estimate when it comes to the price as well as number of rooms and the square footage of the property. The public record makes it simple to source data to compare sale information.

Occasionally, the access to the public record data can be difficult or for one reason or another restricted, temporarily. A Real Estate agent or realtor should be able to look the information up, for you if you're having any problems getting it yourself. Your Real Estate agent should be able to get access through title insurance companies which collect the data directly from the county recorder's office or buy it from other companies.

The public record runs at least six to 8 weeks behind the date of sale. You need to consider adding four or six weeks on top of that for the documents to process - the data might be recent but not immediate.

When you look through the public records of property sales you should also be able to do the following:

· Check the environmental concerns about the area that you're looking into. There are a number of environmental issues that affect the prices of Real Estate properties. Environmental issues are concerns of everyone: potential land developers, lenders as well as homeowners. Remember the houses built on untested soil? This is the lesser evil of environmental surprises - we've all heard enough horror stories about people losing their health and lives sometimes because of pollution in the supposedly attractive area. A lack of understanding about why prices are the way they are and what the environment has to do with it can be intimidating and frightening. A number of predominating environmental issues are still a concern on the Real Estate market, such as asbestos, electromagnetic fields, lead-based paint, mold (such as black mold), Methyl Tertia-Butyl-Ether, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, radon gas and underground storage tanks. You're probably asking yourself what all these things have to do with public records and property prices but believe they do have to do a lot. The environmental issues are not always obvious and are not always an influence on the price of the property, though they should be.

· Another thing to consider when checking into public records is doing a criminal check. No, not of your house but the neighborhood. Again, these are little things that seem not to affect the area and the price per se but they do carry hidden costs. When you're in the public office see if you can get some dangerous offender search, eviction search, employment search all the social occurrences that would be of concern to you.